The Astronomers


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  • Blaine Baggett
  • Don Goldsmith
  • Producer: Jeff Kleizer
    • Biography : Jeff Kleiser attended Colgate University graduating in 1976 with a BA in Computer Graphics. In New York City, Kleiser worked as a Scanimate animator at Dolphin Productions, a holographer at Laser Light Concepts, and as an Optical Effects Editor at EFX, Unlimited before co-founding Digital Effects, Inc. Credits as animation director at Digital Effects and EFX, Unlimited include "TRON", "The Blue Lagoon", "Still of the Night", "Summer Lovers", "Flash Gordon", "Xanadu" and numerous broadcast and commercial animation projects. In 1985, Kleiser directed animation for the Disney feature, "Flight of the Navigator" for Omnibus Computer Graphics. Teaming up with artist Diana Walczak, Kleiser-Walczak Construction was formed in 1988. In addition to database construction services, the firm has been active in human facial simulation and human motion simulation and human motion simulation, and has produced two experimental films, "Sextone for President"(1988) and "Don't Touch Me" (l989). This year Kleiser-Walczalc has produced some twelve minutes of simulation depicting astronomical phenomena for the KCET/LA series, "The Astronomers". Kleiser's work has been exhibited at the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre in nine of the last ten years and he has been a frequent lecturer during that time.


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6 hour episodes covering current astronomers and their work;

More Information...

  • Bibliography :

    "Special Effects for The Astronomers", 92 Imagina's proceeding VIII pp11_20

  • Abstract :

    Kleiser-Walczak Construction Co., in association with Santa Barbara Studios, has completed twelve minutes of highend computer-generated animation for the upcoming PBS series, "THE ASTRONOMERS", produced by KCET in Los Angeles. The project was funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation, whose new observatory in Hawaii will be the world's largest upon completion. This six-part series travels the world to visit the top astronomers and theorists and explores their vision of what lies beyond the sight of current observational technology. Computer-generated animation provided the means to visualize cosmic phenomena, and Kleiser-Walczak was chosen to produce the majority of the photo-realistic shots.
    To handle this large project, the company added new equipment and teamed up with longtime collaborator John Grower, who owns Santa Barbara Studios. "We tackled this very complex project by dividing the responsibility into design/technical direction and client interface, which Diana and I handled, and software development and production rendering techniques, which John handled", commented Jeff Kleiser. "Visual Effects Producer Michael Van Himbergen was instrumental in incorporating our animation into the show and in providing a liaison between us and KCET", added Diana Walczak. Richard 'Doc' Baily rounded out the production team as an additional technical director.

    To accomplish the immense amount of computing required to render the gases, dust clouds and millions of stars visible in many of bear on the project. Wavefront Technologies provided software support and Hewlett-Packard provided hardware support. The design was accomplished at Kleiser-Walczak on a Hewlett- Packard 835 workstation and a Tektronix XD88 workstation with a Digital Video card outputting the final frames to a Sony LVR-5000 Laser Disc Recorder.
    Additional software development and final production rendering was done on an Apollo DN10000 workstation with four processors at Santa Barbara Studios. "We knew that many thousands complex and ambitious effects, "noted John Grower, "and throughout the production we came to rely heavily on the speed and depend-ability of both the Wavefront software and the Apollo DN1000 to get the job done."

    Among the twenty-five shots produced for the series were simulations of black hales, quasars, red giants, solar system evolution, interacting galaxies and planetary fly-bys through our solar system. Series Producer Peter Baker remarked, "I think "THE ASTRONOMERS" happily stretched the CGI companies we worked with to new realms. We needed realistic depiction of things that are diffuse and selfluminous. We needed beauty coupled with scientific accuracy. We needed to visualize the invisible. The people we worked with developed great new techniques...they demonstrated a perfect marriage of artistry and technical wizardry."
    Scheduled to be broadcast starting April 15th, 1991, and running for six consecutive weeks, "THE ASTRONOMERS" promises to provide an up-to-date tour of modern astronomy and today's most intriguing cosmic mysteries.

  • Some more Comments :

    second INA Pixel Prize
    information from a fax sent by Kleiser-Walczak

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